CARMEN JONES (Not rated, probably PG) (105 min.) _ The arrival of Black History Month and Halle Berry's award-winning portrayal of movie star Dorothy Dandridge makes this an interesting choice for moviegoers. Racial prejudice prevented Dandridge from becoming the star she deserved to be in the 1950s. Her smoldering performance here proves the shame in that.
Otto Preminger's 1954 film is an updated version of Georges Bizet's opera Carmen, featuring a vamp (Dandridge) who seduces a soldier (Harry Belafonte) and causes him to throw away his career for passion.
Bizet's songs were rewritten for the entirely African-American cast by Oscar Hammerstein II, and they do contain stereotypical dialect and ideas. Look beyond the insults and focus on Dandridge, a flawless beauty who can never have the spotlight turned on her too often.
Sunday at 3 p.m. only at Tampa Theatre. B